Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 30, 2022


VALO Adelaide 500

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:49): I rise to speak today on a significant event gearing up in our city, the VALO Adelaide 500, an event that is creating travel delays for some and congestion on our streets that Adelaideans generally do not have to deal with. There is often a pay-off factor with most things in life, and the return of the Adelaide 500 may create a bit of inconvenience for a short while but the benefits of this race returning to our CBD will ripple down to us all in one way or another.

Today, in this chamber, I want to accentuate the positive aspects of the Adelaide 500. Some people may not be so enthusiastic about the return of this race; however, this is a great, vibrant city, with numerous festivals and events that benefit South Australia in many ways. People from all walks of life live in our state and we have the privilege of choosing from a smorgasbord of events we can attend, depending on our individual interests.

The historic agreement to secure the Adelaide 500 as the final race of the Supercars Championship for the next five years is a testament to the Malinauskas Labor government's steadfast commitment to ensuring that as many interests as possible are met within the South Australian community. Let us remember that the former Liberal government reported in 2019 that the Adelaide 500 generated over $45 million in economic activity.

The COVID pandemic is still a recent lived experience for the entire world, which resulted in two years of virtually empty streets and the closing down of many small businesses on those streets. In the past, this race has attracted over 15,000 interstate and international visitors to our state, and in 2019 the Adelaide 500 attracted more than 250,000 people to the CBD. I am sure all South Australians share a common desire to make our state great. In bringing back this event, the Labor government has prioritised local businesses to be suppliers, as well as creating an opportunity for the variety of local businesses we have in South Australia to showcase their products and talents.

This is not simply the return of what some are calling a noisy car race that blocks off our city streets, it is an opportunity for small business to increase their weekly turnover, it is an opportunity for people to engage in casual work, it is an opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industries to promote our beautiful state, and it is an opportunity for musicians and artists to engage with newer and bigger audiences. Importantly, it brings another opportunity for our hospitality venues and our retail sector to recover and to rejoice in the greater numbers of customers as Adelaide's population gets out and about and our visitor numbers increase.

A total of 15,000 people attended the recent Harvest Rock event, despite the wet and windy weather. According to our Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the other place, booking data from the South Australian Tourism Commission shows spikes in CBD hotel bookings for major events. Adelaide can look forward to a vibrant summer, with the Santos Tour Down Under returning to its traditional format, international tennis, and our usual mad March events. Thanks to our Premier, we have the VALO Adelaide 500, along with Adelaide's own Jimmy Barnes, to launch us into a summer filled with further festivals and events that will most certainly keep Adelaide very much alive.